Everywhere I go people seem to be cutting bread out of their diet. It is blamed for all sorts of things these days, which is such a shame because as you probably know all bread is not created equally. The loaf from your supermarket, which probably includes emulsifiers amongst other things to keep the bread looking all fluffy and consistent is a far cry from the loaf that you will see on the stalls at your local bakers or farmers market.
Like most people I buy supermarket bread pretty much every week but I also love buying lovely artisan loaves of bread whenever I can and have recently set about trying to make my own bread.
The first attempt did not go well. Unfortunately I read two teaspoons of yeast as two tablespoons and spent five minutes frantically trying to remove the excess yeast. It all went horribly wrong – the lazy loaf didn’t make the effort to rise and to be honest the finished result would have been better used as a lethal weapon than for human consumption. Fellow blogger www. aweepinchofsugar.wordpress.com suggested using it for breadcrumbs, but I was skunnered and it went in the bin.
However I am glad to say that my second attempt rose to the occasion! The original recipe was ‘fig and pecan yeast bread’, but having neither figs or pecans in the cupboard it became a prune and walnut loaf which worked really well. The fruit suited my quest to find something sweet but virtuous and it was great toasted. Obviously you could experiment with lots of different variations of fruit and nuts; the world is your “oxter” as my granny was fond of saying.
260ml lukewarm water
1/2 tsp granulated sugar
2tsp dried yeast
400g wholemeal flour – I used wholemeal bread flour
Teaspoon of salt (a bit of a scant one!)
60g of chopped walnuts
1tbs melted butter
Pour the water into a jug and add the sugar, stir and sprinkle over the dried yeast. Leave for around 10 minutes when the beery head forms from the yeast.
Place flour and salt into a bowl and stir in the fruit and nuts. Make a well and pour in the yeast/water and the melted butter. Stir with a wooden spoon. The dough should be moist and firm but not sticky
Place the dough on a floury work surface and knead for around five minutes until the dough becomes smooth.
Place in a large bowl and leave somewhere nice and warm for around two hours – your dough should double in size
Remove from the bowl and knead lightly for a minute of two before popping in a loaf tin
Pop into an oven that has been preheated to 220 degrees centigrade for ten minutes then lower the heat to 190, baking from a further 30-40 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom
Voila – lovely homemade bread!